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Melanoma facts and statistics

altAustralia has the highest incidence of melanoma in the world and melanoma is often referred to as Australia's national cancer. Here are some other facts and statistics about melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.

At a glance

  • Melanoma is the third most common form of cancer in Australian men and women (10% of all cancers)
  • More than 12,500 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed in Australia every year  
  • Melanoma makes up only 2.3% of all skin cancers but is responsible for 75% of skin cancer deaths.
  • The good news is that melanoma is often identifiable at an early stage where simple treatment can result in complete cure.

Melanoma is Australia’s national cancer

  • Australia has the highest incidence of melanoma in the world.
  • Melanoma rates have doubled in the 20 years from 1986–2006.
  • Melanoma rates are still on the rise with an estimated 392 extra cases per year.
  • 1 in 17 Australians will be diagnosed with melanoma before age 85.

Melanoma is the most common cancer in young Australians

  • Melanoma is the most common cancer in young Australians aged 15–39 years old.
  • In this age group, melanoma makes up 20% of all cancer cases and is responsible for 8% of all cancer deaths.
  • In 20–34 year-olds, melanoma kills more young Australians than any other single cancer.

Melanoma can kill you

  • More than 1,500 Australians die from melanoma each year.
  • Melanoma makes up only 2.3% of all skin cancers but is responsible for 75% of skin cancer deaths.
  • Melanoma was responsible for 3.4% of all cancer deaths in Australia in 2010.

Melanoma affects men more than women

  • Females risk to age 85 = 1 in 23.
  • Males risk to age 85 = 1 in 14.
  • Compared to women, men are more than 2.5 times as likely to die from melanoma.

Sources

AIHW 2012. Cancer in Australia 2012: an overview. Cancer series no. 74. Cat. no. CAN 70. Canberra: AIHW.
AIHW 2010. Australia's health 2010. Australia's health no. 12. Cat. no. AUS 122. Canberra: AIHW.

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